Garton & Harris

When is it time for the power of attorney to take over?

When someone is no longer able to care for their own financial well-being, a designated individual takes over. The financial power of attorney is an important tool to help British Columbia seniors and their families ensure finances are taken care of even if capacity diminishes. But, deciding when it is appropriate to turn control of finances wholly or partially over to the power of attorney can be a difficult balance, especially for those who value their independence. Experts recommend looking for certain signs to determine if the time is right to enact a power of attorney.

With the large aging population in Canada, a growing number of children will soon take on the role of caring for their parents' finances. Signs that enacting a power of attorney may be necessary include missed bills and confusion about finances. This is a delicate subject for many, so being gentle in broaching the subject and building a support team that includes third-party legal and financial advisors is a good idea.

Being prepared to take on the role of power of attorney is important. This includes having all the information about expenses, accounts, debts, income and taxes. This information is clearly quite sensitive, so it is important that the person selected be implicitly trusted and fairly knowledgeable about financial issues.

Selecting a power of attorney and being transparent about finances in advance can be extremely helpful for families. This will make the transition smoother and clarify expectations so the individual in that role is not left with uncertainty. Legal advice early on, during the transition, and in issues that emerge after, can be sought from a British Columbia estate lawyer.

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